A video chronicling Out Back, the annual wilderness program for juniors at Holderness School.
Out Back, an 11-day backpacking expedition through New Hampshire’s White Mountains, has been a rite-of-passage for generations of Holderness students.
It's a transformative experience for many students, who learn valuable outdoor skills and gain confidence in themselves as they overcome challenges they never expected.
Students meet with their group leaders, assemble gear, and snowshoe across campus for the annual Out Back chapel. The week before Out Back, students decorate and seal the leather mittens that will keep them warm and dry throughout the trip.
Students and faculty spread out in small groups across a remote corner of the White Mountains. For several days, groups snowshoe, hike, and ski through the wilderness, learning valuable skills and bonding along the way.
Midway through their 11-day journey, students spend three days and nights alone on solo. Using the skills they've learned over the previous few days, they build a shelter, light a fire, and cook meals by themselves. All three days are spent with just a pencil and paper - free from phones, books, and other distractions.
After overcoming challenges in the woods for nearly two weeks, students make a joyful return to campus, where they receive a warm welcome from students, teachers, and parents.